J first came to Affinity Trust in January 2018. Referred to us by Bradford Council, J was one of the first children in the city to be supported by our Positive Behaviour Support service.
Aged seven at the time, and tall for his age, J always had a smile on his face. His favourite activities were swimming, trampolining and playing with his train set.
But at home, he was often violent, attacking his mother Gillian and his grandparents. He regularly damaged the family home – flooding the bathroom, slamming doors into walls, even pulling radiators off the wall. He suffered from insomnia, sometimes needing medication to sleep.
Outside the home, J’s behaviour was just as challenging. He would attack Gillian when she was driving. He damaged the family car many times, pulling off mirrors and slamming the doors against walls.
Gillian says: “My son’s behaviour escalated. He was attacking me up to 15 times a day, pushing me down the stairs. It just gets to the point where you do really need support.”
It was J’s violence against his mother, including one attack that resulted in her attending A&E, that led to him being referred to Affinity Trust’s Positive Behaviour Support service.
“Everything is so much better. He loves school. He’s just a happier boy” – Gillian
We started by assessing J’s behaviour and quality of life. We observed J at home, at school and in the community, in his everyday routines. One of the things we noticed was that he struggled when in unpredictable environments such as whole-school assemblies, driving through roadworks, and visiting his GP.
We drew up a Positive Behaviour Support plan. This was not just for J but also for his mother, grandparents, teachers and others. This was agreed by his multidisciplinary team, one commenting: “It’s amazing to see this much work go into one child’s plan.”
Over the summer of 2018, we worked intensively with J, his family, schoolteachers and others. Among other things we tried to:
make J’s daily routines more predictable
improve interactions with and between J’s family and school staff
limit the amount of toys J used, to avoid overstimulating him
develop healthy sleep routines.
Just six months later, the outcomes are remarkable. J is now sleeping much better. His diet is transformed – more fruit, fewer sweets. Best of all, there have been no violent incidents. Speaking in January 2019, Gillian said, “Me and my son, it’s like a different world now. I’ve not had aggressive, violent behaviour for probably seven months now.”
As a result, we have been able to stop working intensively with J.